Hey everyone! Welcome BACK to SHEISALLIN for the second blog on my travels this summer to Ghana!
How are you doing? I hope better than “good!”
I sure hope that you are STARVING, now that I’ve worked up your appetite with that last post. In this post, I will be picking up from where I left off in the last blog by going into a bit more detail on some of the landmarks that we’ve visited and introduce you to my five weeks in Kasoa, Ghana!
Oh, the Places We’ve Gone
During our stay in Accra, we visited landmarks and museums that helped us to learn and engage in conversations on some of the history of Ghana, on its current social and political climate, and on cultural norms and social structures. Let’s jump right into it!
The first place we visited was the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park and Mausoleum, where we were led by an amazing tour guide through the memorial park and to the Mausoleum of the first president of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah. At the site we were faced with a large bronze statue of the late president who led Ghana in gaining their independence from British rule in 1957, and were able to visit his and his wife’s burial site. We walked through a museum where we were taken through the awe-inspiring details of his personal history and saw other artifacts from his journey as a college student, prime minister of Ghana, president of Ghana, husband, etc. Visiting this site was an amazing way to begin our time in Ghana, because here we learned more about the social and political climate of Ghana in his time and in the now.
Over that first week, we also visited the W.E.B Du Bois Memoriam, which was both W.E.B Du Bois’s last home and final resting place. W.E.B Du Bois was a Pan-Africanist and Civil Rights activist, and I was so inspired to walk through the home of a man who was so hungry for knowledge and sharing that knowledge. We were led through rooms that held his graduation robes, through shelves of his many books, through his travels to Germany, China, and other countries, and through the many stories of W.E.B Du Bois’s and other Pan-Africanist’s fight for justice.
Both the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial and the W.E.B Du Bois Museum were sites that allowed my team and I to walk through the lives of powerful and inspiring leaders whose heart beat for justice in their time, but our stop to another landmark, the Osu castle, took us through the moments before these men that led to their need to fight against social and political injustices. Visiting the Osu Castle opened the keys to the files in my mind of all that I have learned in 6th grade world history and in college about the Transatlantic Slave Trade. The visit smacked these files of previous knowledge to the forefront of my mind, and held them wide open! I was standing in a location where great injustices occurred (as I do pretty much everywhere that I walk in this world, unfortunately), injustices that I remembered felt so distant and far from my time sitting in the classroom. I was no longer hearing about it from teachers who were also disconnected (in many ways) from that experience in a classroom in the U.S. in the 21st century. Instead, I was hearing about the heartbreaking history standing on the ground where enslaved peoples were traded for cans of sardines and for gunpowder. It made me reflect on the current social and political climate, and recognized that this dehumanization of other people is still occurring today in the U.S. in different ways, but is also very much related to this history.
The Osu Castle, now renovated and a site for Ghanaian Government meetings and offices. Accra, Ghana.
We’ve Prepared, then We Went
It took time for the team and I to take in what we have learned over that week from those landmarks and the many others we stopped by. It took personal self reflection, group check-ins, and google-runs, but I couldn’t have asked for a better introduction to Ghana.
After our first week, we packed our bags and headed to Kasoa, a more rural town than Accra, which was the location where we would be staying, learning, and interning for our final five weeks. We got accustomed to our new living space, went out to dance for Reggae Night, checked out the fishing scene in Senya, and visited a site where one of our mentors Brittni has been working on a Saturday School project for students in the community. We navigated Kasoa with the rich social and historical knowledge of inspirational leaders, movements, other amazing locations like the Independence Arch, the Artist Alliance, and the University of Ghana Legon, and also the ugly history of the Transatlantic Slave trade, colonial powers in Ghana, etc. in our back pockets.
I did not know how much the next five weeks in Ghana would expand my knowledge, would stretch me in character, or would introduce me to friendships and experiences that I will carry with me for my entire life.
But we will get into that in time, mi gente!
For now, let’s take another stop here before we run full-speed ahead into the beauties, the challenges, and the things I am still reflecting on from my trip to Ghana.
Till next time,